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Category Archives: Human Resource Management

Have you ever applied for a job? Were you hoping to actually get an interview and then maybe a job – or was the application process just something you were going through to “prove” to someone that you were “looking”, “making an effort”?

I know it sounds crazy, but I think that some people have such a great fear of an interview, or maybe of actually getting a job, that they ensure that their application has no chance of getting noticed (in a positive way)! By doing so, there is no chance they will get contacted for an interview and no way they are actually going to get a job. I would hope this is their motivation but just in case there are people out there who are accidentally making a couple of common mistakes, I am sharing my observations.

I have been responsible to hiring technical professionals many times. No matter what the technical specifications of the job there are two  personal characteristics I always expect of anyone that I will be working with:

  1. Attention to Detail and
  2. Analytical Ability

A lack of attention-to-detail personality characteristic, jumps out at me when in reading the cover letter and resume, I see things such as:

  • spelling mistakes (including incorrect capitalization – even in an address)
  • incorrect punctuation
  • incorrect job (or company!) referred to (no doubt a result of a copy and paste from a previous application) – BAD!

I may overlook one little typo, but usually if there is a big stack of applications to go through, there are no second chances. I would expect candidates to be showing their absolute best through the hiring process but if they are not paying attention to details here, they are going to end up costing me time and money if they were ever hired!

The second must-have characteristc for any job is analytical ability. I need someone who can look at a situation , analyze something and then take action. I am amazed by the number of applications that I have reviewed where the candidate appears to have not even read the full job description. It seems that they have read just the first two words of the job title, and decided the job fit them perfectly. I expect someone to have read the job description fully (a number of times). I expect the candidate to demonstrate their understanding of my job’s requirements by  showing (in their cover letter and resume) how they meet each of the requirements. If the candidate doesn’t meet each of the requirements (and rarely does any candidate meet them all), then the applicant must analyze the job requirements, analyze their experiences and make a case that they can/will come close to meeting the job requirements.

These two characteristics, attention-to-detail and analytical-ability, won’t guarantee you a job offer, but believe me, an obvious demonstration of a lack of these characteristics will fast-track your application to the “Reviewed, will NOT interview” pile.

So, if you are going to bother to apply for a job, do it right or else don’t waste your time and that of the Human Resources department and hiring manager!


I’ve been listening to an audiobook this weekend and it has struck a chord with what I think about job satisfaction, so I want to share it with you.
The book is not new, in fact it came out in 2007. The book is The Three Signs of a Miserable Job by Patrick Lencioni. As with five other books by Lencioni, this one is presented in the form of a fable, a fictional tale. This makes the content immensely listenable and therefore the message is easy to absorb  . Lencioni follows up the fable with a summary of the key points.

The three factors which make a job miserable are:

  1. anonymity – the employee  feels unknown by their manager and not personally recognized by the organization.
  2. irrelevance – the employee does not know who their work impacts or how.
  3. immeasurability – the employee does not know how to assess their own progress or success in the job

While I agree with what this book says there is one aspect which I feel worth emphasizing. When it comes to making a job measurable it is very important to have meaningful metrics. The measures must pertain to the service the job offers to those who are served. I believe that the counting of  meaningless things just because they can be easily counted could indeed be counterproductive and indeed contribute to an employee’s feeling of irrelevance.

Lencioni makes the point that  all these factors seem to be just common sense, but nonetheless they are largely ignored even thought dealing with them is relatively straight forward.

This book is directed mainly at managers and it applies equally to all managers of people, from frontline supervisors to CEOs. The content is however also of interest and valuable to anyone who works in a job. If all else fails, if your managers aren’t looking out for you, you can and have to take your job satisfaction onto your own hands as best you can – and if that means finding another job, this book will give you ideas of what to look for so you don’t end up in another miserable job.

You can learn more about Lencioni’s theory by:

As I opened off saying, I liked this book and fully expect I will be giving it a repeat listen in the not too distant future.